Game of (Heavenly) Thrones

17 Mar

I was very excited a couple of days ago to receive through the post my author copies of Augustine: The Truth Seeker. It’s a brilliant feeling to hold your own book in your hand, and I have been waving a copy in the face of everyone I know, with what must be very irritating squeals of excitement.

Game of Thrones

I was going to write a post telling you about the book, and how you can get hold of it. (This is still something of a mystery – I have my copies but no bookshop seems to yet. Can’t be long now.) However, I have been watching a lot of the HBO series Game of Thrones recently – all three seasons in just over a week in fact, because we got a short-term Sky Entertainment pass. And I noticed some interesting similarities with my own work. Therefore, instead of telling you all about how wonderful Augustine: The Truth Seeker is, let me tell you why it’s just like Game of Thrones – but with a PG certificate instead of an 18.

  • It’s about an ambitious young man from a semi-noble, but not monied, provincial background trying to make it in the big cities of the empire. Remind you of Littlefinger?
  • Barbarian hordes start invading from the north and east.
  • Some people hold to the old gods, some to the new, and there are weird mystery religious from foreign lands with a worrying hold over believers.
  • Pretenders to the throne keep cropping up, and at one point in the book there are three monarchs, including a King (ok, emperor) in the North who comes south to try and take the whole lot.
  • Crossing a narrow sea was quite a big deal in both Game of Thrones and Augustine’s time. Especially when you did it with an army.
  • Family members scheme to undermine each other’s power base. (I’m thinking of City Prefect Symmachus and Bishop Ambrose – and just about any of the Lannisters, Barathaons and Greyjoys.)
  • Both have an emphasis on mothers who wish they had more influence over their wayward sons (Monica with Augustine, Catelyn Stark with Rob and Bran, and of course Cersei with Joffrey).
  • There’s a lot of celibacy, in the Night’s Watch and various religious orders of George R. R. Martin’s world, and in Augustine’s Monastry in the Garden. There’s also a lot of the opposite, when Augustine was a younger man – and everywhere in Game of Thrones.
  • Illegitimate sons who are dear to their fathers have an important role to play.
  • People drop like flies. Don’t get too attached to the characters in Game of Thrones or Augustine.

Of course, I’m being a bit facetious. It’s not just the lack of dragons in Augustine that distinguishes it from Game of Thrones; there are far more fundamental differences, the key one being that in Augustine’s world there is a truth that can be discovered, and the one who sits on the heavenly throne turns out to matter a great deal more than the earthly game of thrones. There’s also a lot less nudity and swearing of course, although there is some violence and “mild sexual references”. It’s aimed at the 12 to 14 age group, or mature ten-year-olds, so nothing too graphic.

So there you have it: Augustine: The Truth Seeker, the PG Game of Thrones. I await the phonecall from HBO about TV adaptation rights.

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